So many lovely bicycles
Logical Progression

Introducing Wilhelmina

Today I got my new bike.  I am in love.

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A week ago Friday, I rode all the bikes on my shortlist and this Royal Gazelle Toer Populair gave me that "you are the bike for me" vibe that I needed to make my decision.

Funny thing is, I saw this bike at Curbside Cycle in early March and was told it was too big for me.  It's a 57cm frame which is for riders over 170cm or just over 5'7" and I'm only 168.5cm--5'6".

So I waited for them to get in the smaller bike and when I rode it, it felt too short.  I rode it again on another visit, and it still felt like my butt was hanging off the back of the seat.

Last week, after riding two Velorbis models (which still kept that bike in contention--but the price really is prohibitive) and a Pashley Princess which was very nice, I asked if I could ride the 57cm Toer 7 speed to see if the gearing worked for me.  I still felt like 3 speeds weren't enough; mostly because the steps in between the gears are so big.  I also live at the top of a pretty big hill and would like a few of the lower gears to help that climb.

I rode the bright white version of the bike (which seemed like riding a tube of toothpaste colour wise) and the bike started quietly begging me to take it home. 

The bike was a bit tall; I can just reach the ground with my tiptoe with the seat all the way down, but the top tube length was just right.

Ally, the very nice salesperson talked me through the pros and cons of a larger frame.  She made some adjustments, let me ride the smaller Gazelle for comparison and then literally, sent me out in traffic (on a Friday afternoon of a holiday weekend no less) to really get a feel for the bike. 

I didn't mention it had a coaster brake.  Suddenly I wanted that too.  I like how you can use it to moderate your speed with your feet instead of your hands and how the bike stops more gradually instead of abrubtly.  I also liked how the front handbrake was on the right side leaving my left hand for signalling.  The whole experience was fantastic.

But, this bike is a limited edition replica of a 1968 model (though this classic Omafiet is pretty much the same frame they made in 1892) and only comes in Premium White (I have this thing about white vehicles) or what's called Rembrandt White, which is more of a hard to describe creamy green colour.  I wasn't sold on those options.

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So I asked about ordering the black 8 speed that doesn't come with coaster brakes, went home empty handed needing to wait on whether a black bike was available.  I thought about the bike all weekend and into the next week.

Thursday I finally managed to get out at lunch and back to Curbside.  I rode the Rembrandt White bike.  Two hipsters commented on it's fine looks while I was rode--I don't really care what hipsters think--I found the whole interchange funny since I'm well, not very hip!  I noticed how the Brooks seat added a nice vintage touch to the overall design.  It was pretty.

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I still loved the ride and really don't mind the colour.  It's subtle but very different.  I probably won't ever see another one like it.  I bought it.

Today I brought her home.  There are beautiful, apparently handpainted, red stripes and accents on the fenders (this spot makes me thing someone really did paint these stripes--they are just a little too human looking),

Around the lugged connectors,

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And on the chain guard (though these look like a machine did the work). Finally a fully enclosed chain guard.  No more dirty pant cuff!

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This bike is beautiful, smooth and a pleasure to ride.  All I need now are some panniers.  I think something red would be lovely.  I've always been partial to these Basil ones.

Emma has already adopted Claudia and I think they'll have a lovely time together.  I will likely ride her again sometimes too, but I can already feel the difference of this bike.  The bumps are less bumpy, the gears are silent and nothing rattles. 

So why is she Wilhelmina? 

I wanted a Dutch name so did some searching and discovered that Wilhelmina is a Dutch royal name which I think suits a big regal bike like this one. 

And I've always remembered this Sesame Street bit for W-W-W-Willamena so I couldn't resist.


W-W-W-Wonderful Wilhelmina!

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Love it! I love the skirt guard, and the colour. My bike has an enclosed chain and I love it because I never have to think about it!

I think my bike is too tall for me too, my legs are long enough for the pedals, but not the ground. In fact, the other day I went on our city's first annual Tweed Ride ( ) and even though I was wearing shoes with 3" heels, I still had to lean a little to one side at stoplights to get a foot down. ;) I just loved the bike to much not to come home with that particular gorgeous purple model.

Smokin' :)

FYI, if you really aren't loving the colour let me know -- its pretty easy to paint a bike frame & I <3 spray paint! Plus I've been dying for an excuse to check out the new spray paint store near my house :)

VERY nice, and a very standard bike here. And a totally suitable name: Wilhelmina, btw, was the queen of the Netherlands in the early part of the 20th century. And, yeah, her name is EVERYWHERE...street names, buildings, etc etc...

And I'm NOT insane; thank you for reassuring me! For some reason in this country, NOBODY buys a bike in which their toes touch the ground when they are sitting on the seat. At every red light, they dismount (or have one foot on a curb) and then get on again when the light turns green. My first bike (a really old 2nd hand Gazelle) fit like yours does and I loved it; I was totally in control. The second one (a 10-year-old Gazelle) freaked me husband said it was SUPPOSED to fit like that but I had a freakout in the middle of Haarlem on a Saturday afternoon trying to dodge traffic and people and other cyclists. I couldn't get down and up again fast enough. But weirdly, Dutchies insist that it's MORE dangerous to touch your toes to the pavement when sitting on the seat!

When I ask why, they say, "Erhm...uhhhh...errrr..."

Love love love the creamy green color, the red pinstripes, the handsome leather seat.
Have a blast on your new Wilhelmina!

That bike is fabulous, and very you. Congratulations on finally picking one out. I am deeply envious of its many clever features, especially the fenders and chain guard.

Lovely choice Steph! You look great on it!

Love your new bike! I wish my bike had a chain guard like that. My Gary Fisher Capitola is wonderful in every other way but that.

Stephanie, it is beautiful!! I am totally jealous.

The bike looks awesome. I wonder how much it would be to put a full chain guard and fenders on my old bike. It would certainly make riding it in work clothes much more feasible.

You are not supposed to be able to touch the ground while seated if the bike is properly fitted to you, EXCEPT for bikes made for that purpose like your old Townie where the crank was a bit forward. Your leg should be almost extended (knee a bit bent) when the pedal is at the bottom of its rotation. You should dismount when you stop. Here's a nice article on stopping and starting.

I love the bike! But really want to know where you got those awsome panniers???? I rally need something so crazy cool like that...

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